Let me start with this: I am not the cook of our house. During holidays, no one ever asks me to make the family favorite, and I’m OK with that. I have other skills—some yet to be discovered. I just need to keep busy. Busy, that is, as long as there isn’t a good movie on TV or a book I need to read for book club. So during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve asked my grandkids to keep me busy by challenging me to achieve something different each week. This month, the topic was food.

Challenge #1: Lemon Cookies

Powdered Lemon Cookies with Purple Color

The first request was a simple one: lemon cookies. I found an easy recipe and checked the pantry for ingredients to make lemon cookies. I was good to go. That was until I was done mixing the dough and realized I didn’t have the required yellow food coloring. The only color I had was purple. Hmmm. I know food coloring doesn’t have a flavor, so I used the purple food coloring and stuck the cookies in the oven.

That afternoon, I delivered the cookies to the grandkids. Being the gracious sweethearts they are, they thanked me profusely. I didn’t stick around for the final verdict. The next day, when I asked them how the purple lemon cookies were, they were careful in choosing their words. I wondered if they were privately keeping their enthusiasm to themselves and secretly planned to submit the recipe to Martha Stewart. One can always hope. Finally, one brave grandkid told me they were good, but it was difficult to look at the purple color and eat something that tasted lemony. I told them to eat the remaining cookies with their eyes closed. I have no idea if they finished off their batch or blessed the garbage can with the leftovers. I chose not to ask.

Challenge #2: Apple Crisp

The next challenge was to make apple crisp. Believe it or not, I had never made apple crisp. I’ve purchased apple crisp from the grocery store, but never made any. I found an “easy” recipe online and double and triple checked the ingredients I needed to create this masterpiece. It was a simple recipe, and the apple crisp looked good when I was done.

I made the deliveries, and the grandkids were very gracious. And again, I left before they ate a bite. Those face-to-face humiliations are the toughest. A quick text reply from everyone indicated they liked the apple crisp. A potential submission to Martha, I can only dream.

My Final Challenge: Bread

I was ready to take on the next request of bread. At this point, the grandkids were believing in me, so I thought I could take this on. I asked a good friend for a couple of easy recipes. This friend could make a living by cooking, so I reminded her it had to be EASY. She provided me with three easy recipes: one-hour French bread, Focaccia bread and Dutch oven loaf.

I reviewed each recipe, decided to go with the Focaccia, and began assembling ingredients, pans, etc. Then, I realized I had no yeast and neither did the four stores where I searched. Because of COVID-19, people were hoarding not only toilet paper but also yeast! I made the grandkids grape salsa as a substitute and assured them they would get their bread when I got the yeast. They all loved the salsa, so it was a win-win.

A week later, I found some yeast. I won’t go into details of how I secured it from a 90-year-old great-grandma. I made the Focaccia and shared it with the kids who were very pleased with the results. I do admit that I think they were in shock. The grandkids insisted that I need to make the other bread recipes too. I assured them I’d give it a try, and I promised the loaves would not be purple like the lemon cookies.

Another month of COVID-19, another month of challenges, and another month of laughing with my grandkids. Food and laughter—what more could one ask for? OK, perhaps someday we could all cook together!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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